One crystal-clear January dawn, in a wood glimmering with frost, watching the winter sunrise, I catch sight of my 100% perfect boy.
Tell you the truth, he’s not exactly difficult to notice. His black jumper and tattered jeans are dusted with snow, his dark hair is messy and he seems to glide across the ice like a phantom, tracing a pattern of glittering footprints in the snow. I doubt that he’d fit in anywhere, but least of all this white shimmering landscape. But still, I know from fifty yards away, that he’s the 100% ideal boy for me. The moment I see him, a firework goes off in my stomach, and I’m so busy concentrating on him that I step in a puddle and go skidding into a snowdrift, which he miraculously fails to notice.
Maybe you have your own idea of a perfect boy: one that laughs at your jokes, or has a particular type of hairstyle, or brown eyes, or a nice smile. I’ve got my favourite types as well, naturally. When my friends are cooing over boys in bands, or the loudest, rowdiest boys around, I’ll always prefer the quiet, shy guy who chooses a nice spot in the library with a good book over rushing around outside playing football.
But no girl can maintain that her 100% perfect boy matches exactly with every daydream she’s ever had. I never imagined that my perfect boy would be quite so unearthly. But that’s precisely the impression I get. His eyes are nearly black, and they seem to be full of a thousand different emotions, from a glint of happiness, to heartbreaking sorrow.
Unnerved, I sit down to watch the dawn, as the silvery pink strands of light weave their way through the maze of cloud. The hill is supposedly the best place to see it from. I assume he came here to watch it as well, but he just carries on walking down the hill, until his silhouette is swallowed by the trees.
“This morning, I saw the 100% perfect boy,” I tell someone.
“Really?” She seems puzzled, so I explain about watching the sunrise, but how he never even seemed to notice me.
“It was really weird; I was right in front of him and he didn’t see me. Either that or he just ignored me,” I finish, mystified. She nods, then abruptly changes the subject. I chat about music and a new film that’s coming out soon, but my heart isn’t in it. I want to find out about this boy.
The next morning, I go back to the forest, at exactly the same time. He’s not going to be there, I tell myself. I’m only going to appease my inquisitive spirit, to investigate the enigma shrouding him. Maybe he’ll be there. Maybe he won’t. But I’ve nothing to lose by going back there.
And then I see him. He’s walking straight towards me, but he stares, unseeing at a point above my head. Now he’s less that ten metres away. My heart pounding, I slowly get to my feet and walk towards him.
“Hello,” I say warily. “Hello?” He still gazes at something only he can see, far in the distance. I reach out my hand to try and touch him, suppressing a shiver of trepidation.
Then, as my hand brushes his jacket, the sunrise shatters the night, setting the snow ablaze. And he vanishes, evanescent as mist. I’m sure that, as his image dissolves, I hear a sigh, and feel a gentle breath on my cheek. For seconds, or maybe hours, I’m too shocked to move. I just stand like a statue as dawn breaks, one arm outstretched.
Maybe he was a ghost. Maybe he was a dream. Maybe I imagined him. I silently beg myself, looking at a thousand explanations, and desperately hoping I’m not going mad. But then, as I glance downwards, I spot a piece of faded yellow paper, just a tiny scrap, resting on the snow where he was standing.
I pick it up and turn it over in my hand. There’s only two words written on it, but I know it will be burned in my mind forever: …she’s perfect.